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Was Vietnam War to prevent North Vietnam from enforcing the 1954 Geneva Accords?

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  • Was Vietnam War to prevent North Vietnam from enforcing the 1954 Geneva Accords?

    Do you agree that the US enter Vietnam to prevent North Vietnam from enforcing the 1954 Geneva Accords, which was signed to unify Vietnam as one country?

  • BF69
    replied
    They did indeed Jeff, they did indeed.

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffdoorgunnr
    replied
    shades of Gray. Exactly. Most veterans I know from that war are as divided on how they view our attempts at doing the "right thing" as there are veterans. There is, and never will be a definitive answer to the whys and wherefores of that war. Its early roots which I think go back into the 1800's up till the present day are as unanswerable as any point in history that you can find. there were just too many ideals and different ideologies and just plain idiots involved to ever have a definitive rhyme or reason to any of it....The more knowledge I aquire about that conflict ,the more angry and confused I get. And I was there. I do know this for sure......the Vietnamese deserved better.

    Leave a comment:


  • BF69
    replied
    Originally posted by Queensland View Post

    As someone who leans to the left politically, I think this is exactly it. Many of the left and right often fall into simplistic black & white (or maybe black & grey is more accurate) view of foreign affairs, in the case of the Vietnam that the DRV may not have been pure/incorruptible but it was essentially right, with the opposite saying the same of the US/RVN. Although I tend to sympathise more with the anti-imperalist movement in general, the brutality of the DRV towards it's own citizens and the South, as well as the fact for the corruption and repression of the RVN there were ARVN soldiers who showed valour and determination in combat, the idea that any war can be black and white is laughable and Vietnam is no exception.
    The shades of grey are almost endless. Sometimes they can become a bit of a swamp, but that swamp needs to be traversed to get a decent understanding of the conflict.

    My default sympathy was & is with the desire for independence. What has changed since I was much younger is an understanding of just how noxious an idea Communism is and the extent to which its practitioners were determined to enforce it on their nations. The ruthlessness of the Vietnamese Communists in dealing with others seeking independence is one of the things that changed my mind about such movements. There were groups in Vietnam as violently opposed to French rule as the Viet Minh, but in the end their choice was to accept a Communist dictatorship, ally with the French or Americans or give up. Variations of this were repeated in country after country. It is a profound tragedy that so many postwar liberation movements ended up in the hands of one of the worst ideas in human history.

    Leave a comment:


  • Queensland
    replied
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post

    Thanks jeff. By no means comprehensive, but something I've given a bit of thought to.

    As a younger man I was wholly on board with what might be called the 'standard leftish narrative' - Communist Vietnamese = brave liberators, Americans = oppressors, non-Communist Vietnamese = corrupt collaborators. Engaging in a deep study of the war and living in the midst of a large expat Vietnamese community (I walk past the old RVN flag daily) beat the simplistic tendencies out of me.

    I once commented to a Vietnamese acquaintance at Uni that the Vietnamese 'won'. As a child of Sth Vietnamese immigrants he quickly corrected me - 'not all of us'. Since then I have worked with a man whose parents fled the North and whose father was a minor RVN official. He turned 18 in 1975 & recalled the years of living in terror as friends & acquaintances disappeared for months or years on end...or sometimes forever. A few years ago i was getting a blood sample taken at a local pathology lab. I had just got back from a trip to Vietnam, so I asked the nurse if she had ever returned home. She gave me the saddest look and said 'I have no home'.

    None of these experiences redeems the profound failures of non-Communist Vietnamese & the RVN, but it has been a reminder that brushing aside their perspectives is an act of prejudice pure & simple. I still think the 'leftish' critique of US actions has something to offer, but only balanced by an understanding of the worst aspects of Communist behaviour and the perspectives of the non-Communist Vietnamese.
    As someone who leans to the left politically, I think this is exactly it. Many of the left and right often fall into simplistic black & white (or maybe black & grey is more accurate) view of foreign affairs, in the case of the Vietnam that the DRV may not have been pure/incorruptible but it was essentially right, with the opposite saying the same of the US/RVN. Although I tend to sympathise more with the anti-imperalist movement in general, the brutality of the DRV towards it's own citizens and the South, as well as the fact for the corruption and repression of the RVN there were ARVN soldiers who showed valour and determination in combat, the idea that any war can be black and white is laughable and Vietnam is no exception.

    Leave a comment:


  • Queensland
    replied
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
    Sadly the people on this board who could give you the best tips no longer post. This one is good, and the link is to the PDF. Given the prices I've seen quoted for it the PDF is your best chance of reading it.

    https://epdf.tips/vietnams-forgotten...-the-arvn.html
    Thanks for that!

    Leave a comment:


  • BF69
    replied
    Originally posted by Queensland View Post

    Given that there a few Americans who have their own sort of stab in the back belief about Vietnam, I wonder if the RVN is also something of a scapegoat amongst those circles.
    I haven't seen as much scapegoating among the 'dolschtoss brigade' as you might think. They tend to be so focused on attacking their domestic enemies that other considerations are very much secondary. Sometimes they are dismissive of the RVN based on competence & corruption. Sometimes they show no interest. Sometimes they show genuine interest in/compassion for the Vietnamese, though this tends to be a subset of veterans & usually disconnected from broader arguments.

    A revived trend is actually to exaggerate the capabilities of the ARVN in an attempt to make the domestic left look even more evil. The truly execrable piece of propaganda that starts the linked thread (I'll be getting to it soon) is a great example. By pumping up the tires of the ARVN they can exaggerate the 'betrayal', which is itself a fallacious construct.

    https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...he-vietnam-war

    Sadly Americans tend to argue with Americans about what they see as an American war. Vietnamese get to be bit players.

    I would love to read a good book on South Vietnam, the ARVN in particular. Any recommendations?
    Sadly the people on this board who could give you the best tips no longer post. This one is good, and the link is to the PDF. Given the prices I've seen quoted for it the PDF is your best chance of reading it.

    https://epdf.tips/vietnams-forgotten...-the-arvn.html

    Leave a comment:


  • BF69
    replied
    Originally posted by jeffdoorgunnr View Post

    One of the best explanations of how things have gotten "skewed" over the years. I agree totally.
    Thanks jeff. By no means comprehensive, but something I've given a bit of thought to.

    As a younger man I was wholly on board with what might be called the 'standard leftish narrative' - Communist Vietnamese = brave liberators, Americans = oppressors, non-Communist Vietnamese = corrupt collaborators. Engaging in a deep study of the war and living in the midst of a large expat Vietnamese community (I walk past the old RVN flag daily) beat the simplistic tendencies out of me.

    I once commented to a Vietnamese acquaintance at Uni that the Vietnamese 'won'. As a child of Sth Vietnamese immigrants he quickly corrected me - 'not all of us'. Since then I have worked with a man whose parents fled the North and whose father was a minor RVN official. He turned 18 in 1975 & recalled the years of living in terror as friends & acquaintances disappeared for months or years on end...or sometimes forever. A few years ago i was getting a blood sample taken at a local pathology lab. I had just got back from a trip to Vietnam, so I asked the nurse if she had ever returned home. She gave me the saddest look and said 'I have no home'.

    None of these experiences redeems the profound failures of non-Communist Vietnamese & the RVN, but it has been a reminder that brushing aside their perspectives is an act of prejudice pure & simple. I still think the 'leftish' critique of US actions has something to offer, but only balanced by an understanding of the worst aspects of Communist behaviour and the perspectives of the non-Communist Vietnamese.

    Leave a comment:


  • Queensland
    replied
    Originally posted by jeffdoorgunnr View Post
    That looks very promising, thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffdoorgunnr
    replied
    Originally posted by Queensland View Post

    Given that there a few Americans who have their own sort of stab in the back belief about Vietnam, I wonder if the RVN is also something of a scapegoat amongst those circles.

    I would love to read a good book on South Vietnam, the ARVN in particular. Any recommendations?
    This might be a good one....

    https://www.amazon.com/South-Vietnam...ustomerReviews

    Leave a comment:


  • Queensland
    replied
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post

    It is the great gap in most people's understanding of the Vietnam War and I think there are multiple overlapping causes causes.

    The first problem is that Americans in particular have largely seen the war as an American war that happened to take place in Vietnam. While the attitude may not have been/be universal, it was a powerful element in US thinking at the time and seeped into reporting & writing on the war. It is an attitude that crosses politics & ideology. Just think of how many discussions you have had/seen about Vietnam that spend all their time on US strategy, US politics, the US media & US protesters. There have been posts in this forum in just the last week perpetuating just that thinking. While Americans aren't the only people who think they are the centre of the universe, that attitude frequently produces insanely skewed views on places outside the US (read some of the posts on the 'Europe' thread if you want to see modern examples).

    There is a bit more to this, however. The Communist Vietnamese do get more attention & more respect. I suspect that this is a combination of factors. They produced some of the more impressive figures of the conflict - people like Ho & Giap. More importantly, these people led their side to victory over the French and created the institutions that beat the US & RVN. They get to be the 'tough enemy' or the 'freedom fighters' depending on your politics. Non-Communist Vietnamese had a harder story to tell because Ho took control of the narrative. Their desire for a non-Communist Vietnam could only be realised by aligning with powers such as Japan, France & the US - heavily armed outsiders. Worse, they weren't as good at governing or fighting as the communist Vietnamese. Not everyone & always, but too many.

    In the end the non-Communist Vietnamese lost, and with it lost any chance to control their own narrative. There is no nation to promote their story. There are no official archives to research. There are no nationalist Vietnamese universities to study that past. There is a diaspora split in its approach to that past and people left behind under a regime actively interested in suppressing positive stories about its former enemies. There are individual accounts and a few historians here & there looking to tell those stories. Neither right or left wing Americans really had much incentive to promote Sth Vietnamese narratives. The right was & is too busy settling its domestic scores and the left basically thinks the right side won, so narratives that challenge that aren't much sought after. Of course, that is broad brush. The cause of Vietnamese refugees and the stories they have to tell has been championed by people on various parts of the political spectrum, as has their history.

    Sorry about the length, but the ongoing dismissal of the perspective of non-Communist Vietnamese is one of my major bugbears,
    Given that there a few Americans who have their own sort of stab in the back belief about Vietnam, I wonder if the RVN is also something of a scapegoat amongst those circles.

    I would love to read a good book on South Vietnam, the ARVN in particular. Any recommendations?

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffdoorgunnr
    replied
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post

    It is the great gap in most people's understanding of the Vietnam War and I think there are multiple overlapping causes causes.

    The first problem is that Americans in particular have largely seen the war as an American war that happened to take place in Vietnam. While the attitude may not have been/be universal, it was a powerful element in US thinking at the time and seeped into reporting & writing on the war. It is an attitude that crosses politics & ideology. Just think of how many discussions you have had/seen about Vietnam that spend all their time on US strategy, US politics, the US media & US protesters. There have been posts in this forum in just the last week perpetuating just that thinking. While Americans aren't the only people who think they are the centre of the universe, that attitude frequently produces insanely skewed views on places outside the US (read some of the posts on the 'Europe' thread if you want to see modern examples).

    There is a bit more to this, however. The Communist Vietnamese do get more attention & more respect. I suspect that this is a combination of factors. They produced some of the more impressive figures of the conflict - people like Ho & Giap. More importantly, these people led their side to victory over the French and created the institutions that beat the US & RVN. They get to be the 'tough enemy' or the 'freedom fighters' depending on your politics. Non-Communist Vietnamese had a harder story to tell because Ho took control of the narrative. Their desire for a non-Communist Vietnam could only be realised by aligning with powers such as Japan, France & the US - heavily armed outsiders. Worse, they weren't as good at governing or fighting as the communist Vietnamese. Not everyone & always, but too many.

    In the end the non-Communist Vietnamese lost, and with it lost any chance to control their own narrative. There is no nation to promote their story. There are no official archives to research. There are no nationalist Vietnamese universities to study that past. There is a diaspora split in its approach to that past and people left behind under a regime actively interested in suppressing positive stories about its former enemies. There are individual accounts and a few historians here & there looking to tell those stories. Neither right or left wing Americans really had much incentive to promote Sth Vietnamese narratives. The right was & is too busy settling its domestic scores and the left basically thinks the right side won, so narratives that challenge that aren't much sought after. Of course, that is broad brush. The cause of Vietnamese refugees and the stories they have to tell has been championed by people on various parts of the political spectrum, as has their history.

    Sorry about the length, but the ongoing dismissal of the perspective of non-Communist Vietnamese is one of my major bugbears,
    One of the best explanations of how things have gotten "skewed" over the years. I agree totally.

    Leave a comment:


  • BF69
    replied
    Originally posted by jeffdoorgunnr View Post
    another side of "uncle Ho" from a Vietnamese......I always wondered why the South Vietnamese and their viewpoints are almost always ignored.....
    It is the great gap in most people's understanding of the Vietnam War and I think there are multiple overlapping causes causes.

    The first problem is that Americans in particular have largely seen the war as an American war that happened to take place in Vietnam. While the attitude may not have been/be universal, it was a powerful element in US thinking at the time and seeped into reporting & writing on the war. It is an attitude that crosses politics & ideology. Just think of how many discussions you have had/seen about Vietnam that spend all their time on US strategy, US politics, the US media & US protesters. There have been posts in this forum in just the last week perpetuating just that thinking. While Americans aren't the only people who think they are the centre of the universe, that attitude frequently produces insanely skewed views on places outside the US (read some of the posts on the 'Europe' thread if you want to see modern examples).

    There is a bit more to this, however. The Communist Vietnamese do get more attention & more respect. I suspect that this is a combination of factors. They produced some of the more impressive figures of the conflict - people like Ho & Giap. More importantly, these people led their side to victory over the French and created the institutions that beat the US & RVN. They get to be the 'tough enemy' or the 'freedom fighters' depending on your politics. Non-Communist Vietnamese had a harder story to tell because Ho took control of the narrative. Their desire for a non-Communist Vietnam could only be realised by aligning with powers such as Japan, France & the US - heavily armed outsiders. Worse, they weren't as good at governing or fighting as the communist Vietnamese. Not everyone & always, but too many.

    In the end the non-Communist Vietnamese lost, and with it lost any chance to control their own narrative. There is no nation to promote their story. There are no official archives to research. There are no nationalist Vietnamese universities to study that past. There is a diaspora split in its approach to that past and people left behind under a regime actively interested in suppressing positive stories about its former enemies. There are individual accounts and a few historians here & there looking to tell those stories. Neither right or left wing Americans really had much incentive to promote Sth Vietnamese narratives. The right was & is too busy settling its domestic scores and the left basically thinks the right side won, so narratives that challenge that aren't much sought after. Of course, that is broad brush. The cause of Vietnamese refugees and the stories they have to tell has been championed by people on various parts of the political spectrum, as has their history.

    Sorry about the length, but the ongoing dismissal of the perspective of non-Communist Vietnamese is one of my major bugbears,

    Leave a comment:


  • BF69
    replied
    Originally posted by Bo Archer View Post
    This one is not an "easy" for you as your argument is based on a falsehood. If I am not mistaken, the Accords directions were that only military units on both sides had to withdraw to their respective areas. The DRV carried out their withdrawn of the formal military units to my understanding. The French units had faithfully withdrawn. You seem wrong in claiming the supporters/civilians of the Revolution had to move as this was not demanded in the Accords to my knowledge. They were expected to remain in their original homes and begin peacefully working toward organizing the lawful forthcoming election as per the Accords. Many of these could be called VM cadres if you prefer but they were not enrolled in military units but were southerners with a right to engage in the political system. The Diem/CIA regime declared an unlawful war upon these political engaged southerners who were specifically protected by the Accords.

    You wrongly keep refer to the Landlords issue which was within the context of the Land Reform program and the lawful prosecution of landlords who may have committed crimes. This issue is not related to the Accords with nothing in the Accords about landlords and certainly nothing there about granting legal protection of landlord from lawful criminal prosecution. It is my understanding that errors were made in the Land Reform program but it had no bearing on the Accords issue on this Thread. You certainly can not use this issue as your foundation for granting the French south their right to ignore the Accords.
    I asked a question. Are you going to answer it or are you going to avoid it? This is twice today you have avoided a simple question about something you posted. It is getting tedious and makes a worthwhile discussion pretty much impossible.

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffdoorgunnr
    replied
    Everyone here should read this; https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intre...gon/pent11.htm

    Leave a comment:

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